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Old 14th May 2015, 12:57 PM   #1
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Default Sleeping giant

I wish I had purchased a case of these a few years back. I was blown away when I installed these in a VTL amp running in excess of 551VDC on its plates. Biased at 50mA it sounded amazing.

Ok, if they can sound good in a high dollar amp what will they sound like in a run of the mill entry stage amplifier? Tried them in a Dynaco Stereo 70 and they simply blow away ANY EL34 that I have tried.

How about trying them in something different? Miss match from hell. My modified Quicksilver 8417's running 6550's. Simply pulled out the 6550's and put in some 6n3cE's (the coin base ones) and biased them up (individual tube bias pots). They sound so good and this is running at 481VDC with 50mA each tube.
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Old 14th May 2015, 01:46 PM   #2
gabdx is offline gabdx  Canada
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Did you run distortion tests to see what is happening to THD?

I wonder what is the internal construction.
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Old 14th May 2015, 02:49 PM   #3
rongon is offline rongon  United States
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This is old news, I'm afraid. I'm pretty sure this is the tube New Sensor sells as the Sovtek 5881 (marketed as a 6L6GC equivalent). They used to be cheap, but not any more.

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Old 14th May 2015, 02:54 PM   #4
gabdx is offline gabdx  Canada
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Could it be marketing hype for sellers who bought a stock and want to sell at highest prices?

I think it is worth trying it because Burnfingers find them better sounding than el34 and I don't know any tube sounding better than el34s !
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Old 14th May 2015, 05:12 PM   #5
twystd is offline twystd  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rongon View Post
This is old news, I'm afraid. I'm pretty sure this is the tube New Sensor sells as the Sovtek 5881 (marketed as a 6L6GC equivalent). They used to be cheap, but not any more.

New Sensor::Product HighLight
I have A/Bd the 6n3c-e with the Sovtek 5881 in a guitar amp. They look identical, but sure didn't sound the same. To our ears, the 6n3c-es were much better sounding. The Sovteks sounded dull in comparison. This was 70's vintage reflector 6n3c-es IIRC, against then recent (2011) production Sovteks. Make sure you get the coin base "e" versions, IMO the regular based 6n3c (non e) don't sound very good either.

I have also replaced several sets of EL-34s in friends Dynaco ST-70s with the 6n3c-e. I run them at 21 watts dissipation with great results, better than any of the EL-34s that came out of them. They just barely bias in the ST-70s, at 21 watts, it's right at the end of the bias adjustment. So far I haven't had to change any of the resistors in the ST-70 bias supply, but its close.

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Old 14th May 2015, 07:35 PM   #6
rongon is offline rongon  United States
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Originally Posted by twystd View Post
I have A/Bd the 6n3c-e with the Sovtek 5881 in a guitar amp. They look identical, but sure didn't sound the same. To our ears, the 6n3c-es were much better sounding. The Sovteks sounded dull in comparison. This was 70's vintage reflector 6n3c-es IIRC, against then recent (2011) production Sovteks. Make sure you get the coin base "e" versions, IMO the regular based 6n3c (non e) don't sound very good either.
It's possible that the differences you hear are due to quality of different production runs. I always heard Sovtek 5881's as sounding 'dark' or 'dull' compared to 6P3S (not -E version) or western 6L6GC's. Maybe old production 6P3S-E from the Soviet era is a much better sounding tube than 1990s and later made-for-Sovtek runs?

Did you measure voltages of 6P3S-E vs Sovtek 5881 in the same amp? Were they very similar, or widely different? (I suspect they're the same type, but not the same quality, or made in the same factory, etc.)


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Originally Posted by twystd View Post
I have also replaced several sets of EL-34s in friends Dynaco ST-70s with the 6n3c-e. I run them at 21 watts dissipation with great results, better than any of the EL-34s that came out of them. They just barely bias in the ST-70s, at 21 watts, it's right at the end of the bias adjustment. So far I haven't had to change any of the resistors in the ST-70 bias supply, but its close.

twystd
I remember way back when, putting Sovtek 5881's in my old ST70. They dropped right in, very close bias setting to the Tesla EL34's they replaced (which were not reliable in that amp). That was a clue that Sovtek's "5881" is NOT equivalent to 6L6GC (real 6L6's wouldn't bias up correctly in my ST70).

Perhaps vintage Soviet-era 6P3S-E is a very nice tube. Good to know, thanks...

But it's definitely not an EL34 equivalent. Different transconductance, etc. I'm sure the plate resistance is different too. I got much more gain (higher mu) out of EL34 in triode than from Sovtek 5881-triode, even though they biased up nearly exactly the same (same current draw at the same voltages in the same circuit).

--

Last edited by rongon; 14th May 2015 at 07:38 PM. Reason: cleaned up Cyrillic conversions...
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Old 15th May 2015, 10:24 AM   #7
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These are the same tubes Jim McShane was selling on his website and was using in Citation rebuilds.and NOT the same as the Sovtek 5881's. Like I said before I had NO trouble putting them in MY stereo 70 and they biased up perfectly.

The coin base the same ones I posted a picture of are the ones I'm talking about. There are other 6n3cE's out there with a standard base on them and they do not last nor will they take the punishment I have put these thru.

As to distortion.... tube amps here with distortion a lot higher than the SS amps I have owned many years ago. I feel no need to fire up the Sound Technology distortion analyzer to take a reading. IN short they sound really good and work well. What more do I need to say.
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Old 15th May 2015, 10:32 AM   #8
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But it's definitely not an EL34 equivalent. Different transconductance, etc. I'm sure the plate resistance is different too. I got much more gain (higher mu) out of EL34 in triode than from Sovtek 5881-triode, even though they biased up nearly exactly the same (same current draw at the same voltages in the same circuit).


Maybe your due to hear a tube that is sonically superior? These are superior to NOS GE 6l6GC's in my opinion also. I've had probably a dozen 70's in the past ten years all with mods except for one that I kept the original driver board and power supply and only modded the driver board with the optimun matched parts and the filter mod which I cannot remember right now but it served me as the base in which I judged the others. I never found the EL34 particularely to my liking but then again thats just me.
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Old 16th May 2015, 08:26 AM   #9
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I should have mentioned that I purchased these tubes probably 10 years or more ago and I have finally gotten around to using them.
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Old 17th May 2015, 01:05 AM   #10
gabdx is offline gabdx  Canada
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Hi Original,

This shows how tubes improve with age like an old wine.

I understand that if it sounds superior the distortion test won't help a bit. My el34 have way more distortions than KT series but for me they sounds just better for complex music.
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